The Dynamics of Inclusive Finance in the Netherlands, 1750-1970


Why is it so difficult to develop and sustain financial institutions that reach deep into society? We analyze the changing finance options open to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the Netherlands 1750-1970 to understand what determines the form and reach of various financial institutions developed over time.

We construct a new dataset covering the period 1750-1920 to show finance options actually used by SMEs and regional variations in supply patterns over time. We map these data in a web-based Financial Atlas of the Netherlands. We then investigate why various financial facilities offered by town councils during the early modern period disappeared. Private institutions designed to fill part of the gap succeeded only partially in doing so, but SMEs proved so resilient in the face of the accelerating economic growth from about 1870. We analyze that resilience for both SMEs and for some of the fast-growing start-ups which appeared.

We also analyze the reasons why new finance initiatives, some of them government-backed, achieved more in some sectors than in others. Small farmers came to rely on rural credit cooperatives for this, but similar urban institutions faltered. Commercial banks appeared, but it took them several decades before, during the 1950s, they developed some interest in SMEs. We ask what kept banks from doing that earlier by comparing product innovation at the commercial banks with what the rural cooperatives and the government-backed bank for SMEs did.

The project offers three innovations. We provide the first ever quantitative analysis of the funding of small and medium businesses in the very long run. We offer a new framework for understanding what drives the development of inclusive finance; and we make financial history accessible to a wider public with a Financial Atlas App, designed to enable amateur historians to add data to our database, and compare their ancestors? finances with those of other people.


Wetenschappelijk artikel

Professionele publicatie

  • O.C. Gelderblom, J.P.B. Jonker(2016): Financiële zelfredzaamheid in Nederland sinds 1750 pp. 244 - 247
  • M. De Nie-Sarink(2018): Van weekloon naar maandsalaris pp. 32 - 35
  • D. Smit-Maarschalkerweerd(2018): Een zeventiende-eeuws kasboek en de strijd om een erfenis pp. 38 - 43
  • C. Boter(2018): Het ontstaan van de Nederlandse huisvrouw pp. 50 - 53 ISSN: 2352-2712.

Publicatie bedoeld voor een breed publiek

  • Studio Naam De Ruimte Ontwerpers(2018): Website Kasboekje van Nederland
  • NTR Universiteit Utrecht(2018): Tv-serie Kasboekje van Nederland
  • O.C. Gelderblom(2018): Diverse vormen van media-aandacht en publiciteit voor Kasboekje van Nederland






Prof. dr. O.C. Gelderblom

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen, Letteren


C.A. Boter PhD, Prof. dr. O.C. Gelderblom, Dr. J.P.B. Jonker, Dr. J.P.B. Jonker, R.L.M. Peeters MA, Drs. J.W. Schnitzeler, Drs. J.W. Schnitzeler, A.P.E.M. de Vicq de Cumptich MA


01/08/2015 tot 01/08/2020